18th June saw the return of the Dublin Lunchtime Cycle. Dublin City Council have been unceasing in trying to get bums on saddles for some years now, and this event is a highlight of National Bike Week (which ran from June 13th to 20th), which promotes cycling as a leisure and commuting option across the country.
Taking in the old and new of Dublin City, the leisurely lunchtime cycle of 5km, or about 30 minutes, kicked off from Grand Canal Square in the heart of Dublin’s Docklands. Taking a different route to previous events, it snaked through the streets of Ringsend, over the East Link Bridge, passed the 3 Arena on the North Wall Quay, over the Samuel Beckett Bridge, returning to Grand Canal Square.
The square itself was turned into a mini-market with lots of bike-related equipment, food and refreshments on hand. There was also a Best Dressed Cyclist, Best Dressed Bike and Fanciest Hat contest with iPads up for grabs.
Efforts such as these have helped make cycling a more attractive commuter option and have resulted in a huge increase in the numbers of people cycling. For example, Dublin City Council’s annual Canal Cordon Count has shown an 87% increase in people cycling, with numbers up 14% last year alone.
NewsFour caught up with someone taking a sneaky breather – Tessa Morehouse, who works in Grand Canal Dock but lives in Crumlin. We asked about her experience of being a cycle commuter. “My husband was at me for years to cycle into work but it seemed like too much hassle until I tried it. I even do it in winter now and it makes me feel great. My favourite thing is passing people who I work with who are stuck in traffic on the canal; it makes me burst with smugness.”
On the lunchtime cycle, she had one small quibble. “They brought us down near the port and there were loads of lorries, which freak me out. I hope next year we go a nice route that more people will witness, it’s about selling cycling so it should be more visible.”
By Steve Kingston